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Borderscapes: On the Activation of Border Space to Enable Interaction and Accommodate Inclusive Mobility

  • Thomas, Laura (author)
Publication Date
Jan 28, 2021
TU Delft Repository
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This thesis reflects on the exclusion of refugees and other migrants from mobility in border space. The research suggests that, while society is becoming increasingly mobile, refugees and other ‘undesired movers’ are excluded from the otherwise unrestricted possibilities to move that have been established across national borders. Following the integration of spatial and social mobility as described by Vincent Kaufmann, it is suggested that enhancing the potentiality to be mobile for all can improve equal access to opportunities for people in border space. The thesis proposes an urban design strategy for the area along the Como (IT) – Chiasso (CH) border. The design moves away from nation-oriented planning, in which borders are seen as in-between spaces that should be crossed as efficiently as possible, towards a cosmopolitan perspective on planning and design as described by Ulrich Beck. The nation state is put forward as a malleable social construct that urban planners and designers should challenge, by planning and designing for various, hybrid territories that overlap, rather than for a singular national territory. The proposal puts forward border space as an integrative space that can accommodate inclusive mobility (i.e. to establish equitable access to opportunities by securing people’s potentiality to be mobile). Migration is framed as a permanent temporality and design measures are adapted to this notion. Three main design ambitions are experimented with through research by design: the development of affordable housing, diverse public spaces and slow traffic networks. Each of these interventions are expected to contribute to the liveability of border areas as well as access to social and economic opportunities, both for people who currently benefit from border crossing, as well as for those who are stuck in isolated places. To further highlight certain themes, two zoom-in projects explore the themes of designing an adaptive plan, flexible to various futures, and the theme of refugee integration. The first theme is researched through the development of a landscape in place of a current customs area. To research the second theme, a small scale refugee community is integrated into the urban border space envisioned. The ‘camp’ is designed according to the principles of incremental urbanism, meaning that the inhabitable spaces are designed to grow in quality over time and to form the foundation of what will later be part of the interwoven urban fabric. / Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences

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